featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


photo by Jeremy Keith
Danita Cahill is an award-winning writer and photographer. Besides running children to and fro and caring for her gardens, critters and family, Danita stays busy working on magazine assignments and dreaming up love stories for her next books. Learn more about Danita and her books here.

Danita is sponsoring a Kindle Fire 6" HD giveaway January 1-7, 2015. Click here to enter for a chance to win!

Why Cowboys?

I didn’t start out intending to write about cowboy heroes and the cowgirls who steal their hearts. I started out publishing nonfiction pieces in community newspapers. Freelancing for 11 different northwest newspapers, I wrote and published more than 2,100 stories over the years. After a couple of decades of newspaper writing and photography assignments, I expanded into magazine work, falling neatly into a niche of writing about all things rural.

Since I’m a small-town country girl at heart, the rural niche fit well.

I grew up on a farm where we raised pigs, chickens and beef cattle. We milked a couple of dairy cows and made our own cheese, butter and delicious homemade ice cream. We planted an immense organic vegetable garden every year.

From a young age I’ve had a burning love for horses, and dozens of horses and ponies have galloped in and out of my life. From 2001-2007, I was a volunteer deputy with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Posse. One of our primary missions was wilderness search and rescue on horseback. We also rode in parades with the sheriff, and we did armed security on foot and on horseback at local events. I still keep a mare named Koko.

But there was even more than my background pointing me towards writing about cowboys – chiefly my daughter and her husband. They met through their mutual love of rodeo when they were both learning to ride bulls. Yes, my beautiful daughter rode bucking bulls. And yes, I bit my nails to the quick during those two summers. Yet, I have to admit, my heart swelled with pride when I watched her make her first eight-second ride, her blonde ponytail bouncing in the dust-filled sunshine. My daughter and son-in-law now ride in a northwest rodeo circuit – she’s a barrel racer, he’s a bareback bronc rider. 

When I began writing fiction I always set my stories in small towns. After all, they are what I know and love best – not only from experiencing small-town living, but also from my years of covering neighborhood community life for newspapers. My first published novel, Mist, is set in a small, fictional Oregon Coastal town. Next, I wrote the first book in my Bellham Romance Series, Love at First Click. It is set in both that same little coastal town, and in Bellham – a quaint, fictional town in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Bellham is a quirky, close-knit farming and ranching community.  

Farming and ranching equals cowboys, right?


So, I added the Valley River Rodeo to Bellham’s list of annual events, and cowboys make a strong appearance in my latest release, First Cowboy Kiss.

Cowboy characters were so much fun to write that cowboys will continue to play leading roles in future Bellham Romances. After all, what romance reader, or writer, can resist a hot, kind-hearted, yet rough-around-the-edges cowboy? I know I can’t.

“The best way to cook any part of a rangy ol’ longhorn is to toss it in a pot with a horseshoe, and when the horseshoe is soft and tender, you can eat the beef.”– Texas Bix Bender  

Or you could skip the horseshoe and marinate the beef before cooking for a tender and tasty main dish: 

London Broil
2 ½ lbs. beef – flank steak, top-round steak or roast

4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 T. balsamic vinegar
4 T. fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
2/3 cup olive oil

In a bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients until well combined. Place beef in a plastic, gallon-size freezer bag and pour marinade over it. Press out excess air and seal bag. Refrigerate for eight hours, turning bag once or twice. Remove beef. Discard marinade. Grill meat, or sear under broiler, 7-8 minutes on one side. Flip meat over and grill or broil for 7-8 minutes more. Do not overcook. Transfer beef to a cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes. Cut diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Eat hot. Refrigerate leftovers and use later cold for sandwiches.

First Cowboy Kiss
Nothing is Sweeter than Love’s First Kiss…

First Cowboy Kiss is a sweet, tender novella of young love.

Bellham Romances all interconnect through characters and location, but each can easily be read as a stand-alone book. 

Meet the Cowboy…
Mia Donovan is lonely. So, her best friend sets her up to meet a cowboy at the local Rodeo. But Mia is shy, and it takes all her courage to approach a good-looking cowboy that may, or may not, be the right one.

Watch the Cowboy Ride…
Bareback bronc rider, Tanner Michaels, is definitely interested in Mia. But first he has a bucking horse to ride. He can’t afford to let thoughts of Mia fill his head until those eight seconds are over.  
Mia watches Tanner ride. Her nerves twist in knots when he’s bucked off. How badly is he hurt?

Get Rescued by the Cowboy…
Later that day, it’s Tanner’s turn to worry when Mia, who can’t swim, is knocked into the deep end of a pool. Tanner jumps in and rescues her. But why isn’t she coming to?

First Cowboy Kiss is available at Amazon as a Kindle Countdown Deal – only $0.99 January 3-9! Or enjoy it for free through Kindle Unlimited or Kindle Owners Lending Library.


Danita Cahill said...

Thanks so much for hosting today. It's fun to be here!

Danita Cahill

Angela Adams said...

Thanks for the recipe! Best wishes with your new release!!

Danita Cahill said...

Thanks so much, Angela. Best in the New Year, and thanks for stopping by!